Excuse me.... Isn't Azul Systems still around? I do believe they just received an additional round of funding; did they not?
Now, without having the time or the desire to dull my mind, I haven't read the pertinent patents. But, there really are only so many ways to do something. If those methods are patented and they are correspondingly trivial (by USPO standards) then the patents should have never been issued and should be revoked. This is true for any company and any patent. Putting together common sense items and calling it a new innovation and filing for a patent does not a strong patent make.
Journaling file systems would fail a solid review due to their basis on prior technology.
Copy-on-Write doesn't seem innovative to me. It may have been an unique idea to move it to a file system at the time. But, it sounds more like a natural and common sense progression than any true new invention.
So, Anonymous Coward, what exactly is so innovative about the NetApp patents?
I have a gut feeling that all of the "innovation" was borrowed from other realms of the IT sector. Copy-on-Write does truly sound like something that came from the mainframe world. Perhaps we should ask some mainframe folk if they know of anything using this concept outside of NetApp? If this is the core of NetApp's patents that they are claiming infringement on then I have to take a guess that NetApp will settle out of court after making a big scene. After all, storage is ALL NetApp does. I think the ZFS scares NetApp not so much because of possible patent violations but because of the price/performance proposition. After all, from the numbers I have seen, it does appear that ZFS running on a sufficiently quick processor does provide a much better price/performance value.